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Grading the Game: Boise State

A slow start, but a fast finish.

NCAA Football: Boise State at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Passing Offense - A

Not much to analyze here - just a casual 450 yards and 5 touchdowns for QB Michael Penix Jr, all while exceeding 11 yards per attempt. QB Dylan Morris had one pass attempt and completed it for a 31 yard touchdown. Even WR Jalen McMillan completed a pass for 9 yards. Blocking on screen passes needs to be better, and they took a quarter to get going, but I don’t care. WR Germie Bernard also appears ready to make a big impact.

NCAA Football: Boise State at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Rushing Offense - C+

Like last season, there just is not a ton to report here. OC Ryan Grubb seemed to want to get the run game going early, but it just wan’t working. RB Will Nixon (who definitely seems stronger and more physical compared to last season) got loose a couple times including a 21 yard run, and WR Jalen McMillan had a 19 yard run, but no other running back had a run longer than 5 yards (and that was one by Daniyel Ngata late in the game). The final stats read 15 carries for running backs for 62 yards. But did it ultimately matter? The Huskies scored 59 points and had no trouble moving the ball after the first 15 minutes. The coaches indicated post game that the interior of the offensive line had a couple missed assignments, which should get cleaned up. RB Dillon Johnson may not be 100% healthy yet, either.

Passing Defense - B-

There was a lot to like here, but it still felt like last season where the stats don’t tell the full story. Boise State QB Taylen Greene finished with one touchdown and two interceptions on 6.3 yards per attempt. There were 6 drops from Bronco receivers (including at least one costly one on third down) and some plain misfires from Green which otherwise may have been completions. But, it appears CB Jabbar Muhammad is as advertised after holding his man to one catch for 5 yards. CB Davon Banks had four pass break ups which equals the high from any player on the team for the entirety of last season. DC William Inge mentioned in Monday’s press conference that Banks was the highest graded CB on the team.

The pass rush wasn’t as ferocious as anticipated, but that may have been due a couple of factors. Taylen Green is a strong and fast runner so he could avoid the rush, and is a rhythm thrower who got rid of the ball quickly. Also, the UW edge players may have been instructed to keep Green in the pocket instead of trying to move him off his spot.

NCAA Football: Boise State at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Rushing Defense - B+

Considering what Boise State had last season and what they are expected to have on offense the rest of this season, it was a good overall performance. Just one rushing touchdown and 138 total yards for an offense which will greatly exceed those numbers in many games this season. Green had a 13 yard run but no running back had a run longer than 11 yards. DT Tuli Letuligasenoa (also according to Inge) was the highest graded DT after the game.

Special Teams - A-

WR Germie Bernard got the second coming of his Husky career started off with a bang with his 51 yard kick off return, showing off some smooth moves. Punting seems better than last year and P Jack McCallister did pin three punts inside the 20. WR Jalen McMillan’s decision making on punt returners could probably be better.

Coaching - A

This game was a somewhat trendy pick by the college football media to be an upset or at least closer than the spread. After a 6-0 Boise lead in the first quarter, I wondered if maybe they were right. The play calling offensively seemed off, though Boise State’s coaches had an excellent game plan. Cue, Michael Penix Jr. Once Grubb started going with the clear strength of this offense - aggressive downfield passing - everything starting coming together. It’s hard to argue the coaching staff didn’t have the team ready or make the proper adjustments in this one.